My Khmer Coffee Addiction

It’s a fact. I’m addicted to it. I can’t start a day without coffee and I usually have it a couple more times each day. When I first visited Phnom Penh last 2004, I was fretting and thinking that maybe I’ll be on a coffee-diet. Lol! I was really really wrong! I discovered that Cambodians are more than passionate about their morning cup. In fact, they have coffee anytime of the the day!

A few doors down my mother-in-laws house in Toul Tompoung area, there is a Khmer restaurant (corner resto St. 432 and 163) serving espressos and iced coffees at a fraction of the price of famous coffee houses. And the taste? Whew! One of the best brews I’ve ever had. Not only that, I was amazed to find out  that most of these local cafe’s roast their own local beans so you get freshly roasted coffee which, believe me has the best taste. Khmers prefer their beans roasted really black and adds a little fat or butter making the taste a lot richer. They would usually roast their beans every other day around 2-3 pm and just the aroma is heavenly!

So, though I still frequent nice cafes around Phnom Penh (I do enjoy their plush seats, free wifi, pastries..) but every so often you can find me sampling coffee from these small restaurants found all over Phnom Penh. These shops mostly speak very little English so come prepared and have this memorized (lol! I even have a small note always with me with Khmer translation of this just in case..)

  • hot black coffee – caa-fei kh’mav (khdow -hot)
  • coffee – caa-fei
  • iced coffee – caa-fei teuk koh
  • ice coffee milk – caa-fei teuk koh tuk duh koh

Khmer coffee is usually served hot – black or with milk / iced – black or with milk. There’s also a place inside Russian Market (Tuol Tompoung Market) serving what they claim to be the Best Iced Coffee in Phnom Penh. It does taste really good, and since there are a lot of tourists in the market they can speak English, so ordering a glass of iced coffee is a breeze.

It’s located right in the food hall, just look for the sign..

Khmer Iced Coffee

And to tempt those iced coffee lovers..

Khmer Iced Coffee

I’ve already shared this passion for Khmer coffee to some of my friends and also my sister. Ouwie is now also a certified Khmer coffee addict. Lol ! I can still remembered when she first tried it, she found it so good, she had too many glasses and found herself unable to sleep . So, though its tastes really good, just have it in moderation 😉

Happy coffee drinking!


  1. marie

    February 24, 2010 at 6:06 am

    my friend who visited cambodia tried ther coffee as well, and said it was the best! Reading your article made me think that it really must be that good! I must try this one day! 🙂

  2. Lui

    February 24, 2010 at 9:29 am

    hi marie,

    yes its a must try. their espressos are rather strong but very very addicting =) the taste and the price..

  3. Jen

    February 19, 2011 at 5:41 am

    i feel pretty much the same way about the coffee in Cambodia!!  when i was there, i was obsessed with the iced version and living just a few blocks from the Russian Mkt, i did frequent probably the very place you mentioned.
    My question for you tho is:  what is the “recipe” for the perfect iced Khmer iced coffee??  i really want to make it here in the states, but cant figure it out.  any hints would be appreciated greatly!!

  4. Lui

    February 19, 2011 at 7:40 am

    @Jen, its freshly roasted. They usually do it every other day. I actually went to a coffee place near my MIL’s house and observed how they make it. Takes them hours to roast it and also they add a bit of butter to the beans.

    They use the drip method to extract the brew and they also have a unique way of stirring it. The guy making it suggests filling the cup less than half and stir it like your beating eggs yolks and stir till it bubbles a bit and that’s when you add it to the crushed ice or add more hot water =)



  5. acambo

    February 26, 2011 at 10:37 am

    YES!! When i visited my home country i found myself wanting an iced coffee every hour lol. But it is the best coffee ever

    1. Lui

      February 27, 2011 at 12:44 pm

      @Acambo, true. it’s now my favorite. its cheap but tastes so good. a lot better than Starbucks if I may say so.

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